Bushway: My advice, even during these
unprecedented economic times, is to
focus more efforts on marketing and
consumer education. With all of the
new products on the grocery store
shelves each year, an informed consumer is the best insurance for the
well-being of the organic industry.
Also, by joining OTA you get the
most current updates and have the
chance to be more actively
involved in events. Other than that, my
best advice for our membership and
the organic community as a whole is to
make sure directory listings with OTA’s
organic pages online and export directory are up-to-date. We will be focusing
on driving more traffic to these websites. The export website is maintained
by the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
so it’s open to non-members and members alike. We encourage everybody to
make sure that their listing is current.
OP: Christine, as the new executive director of OTA, what other goals do you have for
the organic industry?
Bushway: Well, being involved in policy has always been very important to OTA
and we see that continuing to grow. This includes government relations work,
dealing with the regulatory agencies and members of Congress. We have a policy conference here in Washington every year, when our members come and
visit their representatives as constituents.
Policy continues to be a huge issue because so much of it impacts our industry. We’re hearing about changes such as a new food safety regulatory agency.
Being involved in things like this is going to take on even greater importance in
I also want to stress that OTA is not just food and agriculture, we represent the organic personal care industry and the organic fiber industry as well.
We will be expanding our efforts to work with those groups and continue to
look for ways to assist them in standards development by providing forums to
bring them together on issues that impact their business growth and well-being.
Lastly, I’d like to add that it has been really great that so many people in the
industry—not just board members, but even non-members—have taken time to
call or send me an email and share their thoughts and input. I want to encourage that. I want people to realize I have an open door and I’m always happy to
hear from them.